Tonight is probably the night the Jacksonville Jaguars announce their permanent move to Saskatchewan or London or something. Probably not, though what kind of breakdown would it be without a cheap shot in their direction?
They appear to be outclassed on paper by the Philadelphia Eagles and new head coach Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense, but you know the Jaguars will come to play and the Eagles have their own issues on defense.
Here are three things to keep an eye on when they meet at 7:30pm EST.
1) Can the Jacksonville defense step up? Whether Mike Vick starts one quarter or four, this is an offense with some power to it (and that’s despite injuries). The only real hope for Jacksonville this season is for a tremendous effort by their defense which keeps them in games so that Maurice Jones-Drew and the offense can grind out points. Given the issues along the Eagles offensive line, they should be able to bring pressure. If they can do that…..
2) Can Mike Vick hold on to the ball? He couldn’t last year, many people were calling for Nick Foles to start and yet here we are with Vick under center again. So that’s the biggest question, one which will be asked all season long, but could show itself tonight if the Jaguars can bring pressure. Vick has to hold onto the ball and protect it. Otherwise it’s just a disappointing repeat of 2012.
3) Jason Babin vs Lane Johnson: Johnson has played really well during run plays, but has had a few rough patches in pass protection. Former Eagles defensive end Babin loves to go after the passer so Johnson will see him a lot. How Johnson handles Babin could go a long way to determining how often Vick has to worry about that ball protection.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys.com and an NFL writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.